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Mobile phone etiquette

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I don’t know about you but I feel a certain pressure to immediately check, if not answer, every message; screen, if not answer, every call.

Other people’s mobile phone usage can be even more annoying. How many business meetings have you been in where the other person looks at their phone every ten minutes, just to see if anyone’s been in touch?

(Incidentally, I’m not quite sure what’s more irritating – someone surreptitiously checking their phone or someone who’s blatant about it.)

This sort of behaviour begs the question: do we need to introduce mobile phone etiquette?

Pieter Streicher, managing director of a South African global mobile messaging company called BulkSMS.com, believes so.

He’s recommended ten mobile phone etiquette tips for business. Admittedly, they need to be taken with a grain of salt as Streicher uses some of them to plug his text message-based business. Others are, well, pretty obvious but a few of the tips do make sense.

I give you… Streicher’s ten-point guide to mobile phone etiquette!

1) Use text messaging to reduce the social intrusion of a call. When a mobile call is replaced by a text message it gives the recipient an opportunity to reply or call back when convenient.

2) Enable the “silent” setting on your phone in public places or open offices spaces.

3) Use text messaging like a pager. This is an unobtrusive way to get hold of a person as there is no immediate compulsion to reply to the message.

4) Use text messaging as a notepad. Request callers to text the required details after the call.

5) Change your voicemail greetings to include: “Don’t leave a message, rather text me”.

6) Instead of leaving a voicemail message send a text.

7) Use text messages to send regular updates on a business process directly to a customer’s mobile phone. Customers appreciate receiving regular updates in any extended business process; such as the repairing of a car or the delivery of items ordered online.

8) Avoid the inappropriate use of text messaging, such as unwanted marketing texts.

9) Ensure that there is an opt-out mechanism for consumers when sending out marketing messages via text.

10) Use a desktop messaging solution that supports the sending and receiving of personalised individual and bulk messages. This allows you to customise your communications and track conversations with your consumers, clients or suppliers and promotes efficient internal and external business communications.

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